Cycling - Such a Friendly Way to Travel
So this morning I went the long way round on Trixie the Fixie to Walker, via the Tyne Foot Tunnel, Hebburn, Gateshead, and Newcastle’s Swing Bridge.
As I approached the tunnel, I overtook a guy on some sort of suspension bedecked mountain bike thing. He was cycling in riggers’ boots, but going along at a fair lick. When I got to the tunnel, I found that the lift was still out of service, so I slung Trixie up on my shoulder and started carefully walking down the escalator. Seeing as its one of the world’s longest escalators, and its a long way to fall, I was taking it fairly carefully.
But it wasn’t long before the ‘clump clump clump’ of rigger’s boots was rapidly catching me up, and as we reached the bottom, the guy with the suspension bike skipped past me and jumped on his ride into the cycle tunnel. Well, I couldn’t have that, could I? But as I caught him up, I realised that here was a guy who was really enjoying his cycling - he spent about a third of the distance through the tunnel pulling wheelies . . . at about 18mph.
So we shared the lift up to the surface, and got chatting. Turns out he used to work for a charity that specialised in supplying bikes to disabled people - all sorts of bikes from the bog standard to hand-cranked three wheel recumbents. He even used to ride a ‘bent himself, and took it on a return trip up to Edinburgh & back before it got pinched from the shed in his garden.
It was the only thing stolen, so someone had obviously followed him home & targeted his bike (actually it was a trike) to take. Ba$t@2ds. Worse still was that the trike was actually recovered by the police in the Netherlands, but that his insurance wouldn’t pay to ship it back - so all he got was the proceeds of an auction where someone else picked up a bargain.
This is a sad story, but it’s also today’s example of what I love about cycling - when you’re outside of the metal cage on four wheels, and tooling along in great weather, it’s just so easy to strike up a conversation with other cyclists. Who’re usually such interesting & friendly people - like the couple I met on Sunday who were just off to the ferry terminal with their complete new set of luggage from the Edinburgh Cycling Cooperative.
Turns out they were getting the ferry to Amsterdam, and then the train down to Toulouse to cycle Le Canal du Midi to Montpellier. Hey! that’s the same water that Daughter fell into in June, less than 20 miles from the Outlaws’ house. This is such a small world.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 08/01/2007
- Total Time: 1:36:00.00
- Distance: 27 miles
- Average Speed: 16.87 mph